Despite their reputation as a clean and healthy alternative to deep fryers, air fryers can pose a major risk to indoor air quality if used without proper ventilation, a study has shown.
The study, released on Thursday by the Wang Jhan-Yang Social Welfare Foundation and the Taiwan Society of Indoor Environmental Air Quality, measured the level of particulate pollution caused by cooking high-fat foods such as sausages in a closed studio apartment.
Without any ventilation, air frying a sausage caused overall pollution from fine particulate matter to spike up to 1,525 times higher than normal, the study showed.
Even when a kitchen range hood was employed, air frying caused pollution levels 13.15 times higher than those produced by cooking a sausage in a frying pan, the research showed.
Chang Jung Christian University occupational health and safety professor Chang Cheng-ping (張振平) said that air fryers work by circulating air at high temperatures.
This produces crispier and comparatively healthier food, but also poses pollution risks when the oils in high-fat foods start circulating in the machine, he said.
Air fryers produce fine particulate matter smaller than 0.3 micrometers, while those produced by oil-based cooking methods are smaller than 0.5 micrometers, he said.
Research has shown that particulates with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less can penetrate the deepest parts of the lungs, including the alveoli — the tiny air sacs that allow oxygen to enter the blood stream — posing a range of potential health risks, he said.
People can mitigate these risks by ensuring that their kitchens have adequate ventilation, he said.
When using air fryers that lack proper ventilation, people should consider using them outside, such as on a balcony or near a window, Chang added.
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